FAYETTEVILLE — Trelon Smith left Arizona State following the 2018 season and opted to transfer to the University of Arkansas.
Smith redshirted in 2019 as the Hogs struggled to a 2-10 record that led to a coaching change. Smith talked about how he used the redshirt year.
“Coming in last year due to NCAA rules, I had to sit a year, so I ended up using my redshirt,” Smith said. “Last year, during that time I just decided that I was going to be the best player that I could be knowing that I couldn’t play. So a lot of the time I was on scout team giving looks and things of that sort. My mindset every day was just to come in and be the best player I can be and give the guys a great look coming into the game every week. That was my goal.”
After sitting out in 2019, Smith is anxious for Sept. 26 and the season opener to begin.
“I’m so excited,” Smith said. “I can’t wait. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time now, and it’s finally here. I get to play with my boy Rakeem Boyd. It’s going to be a big one, a huge one. I’m excited to see what we can do.”
Boyd played high school football at Houston Stratford while Smith played at Houston Cypress Ridge. Smith talked about how well he knew Boyd before becoming a teammate at Arkansas.
“Before me getting here, I did know of Rakeem Boyd in Houston, Texas,” Smith said. “I did know of him. Really weren’t that close when we were in Houston together, but as soon as I got here the connection, man it just grew and grew every day. Me and Rakeem, we are very close now. When I go home, he comes home with me. We go to Houston together, we travel back together. And we even work out, train together when we’re out there with The Footwork King or whatnot. Just trying to get better in each and every way. Just making each other better.”
On Friday the Razorbacks held a scrimmage. Smith talked about how he and the running backs performed.
“Today, with the running back room I feel like we did a good job,” Smith said. “There wasn’t a lot of missed assignments. I got a touchdown at the end of the day which was good. I broke on a few plays. I feel like I did very good, especially with the pass protection. I feel like I did good with my pass protection today. And just reading the holes, creating a three-way goal, sitting up defenders and things, I feel like I did a real good job.
“As a running back room as a whole, I feel like all the running backs did a good job. Dominique Johnson, true freshman, bouncing off tackles. You’ve got Josh Oglesby, the track star who came in, hitting the hole, bursting out. I feel like we did a great job overall.”
Oglesby was with the track program until opting to give football a try this year.
“Oh man, scat back,” Smith said. “He gets the ball, and he’s like a rocket. He’s going to shoot out of there. He’s very fast. Clocked like a 10.3 in the 100 meters, so he’s a very fast guy. You know, I’m just excited to see what he can do when he gets the ball in his hands, Game 1.”
Smith was named the MVP of District 17-6A, the highest division in the state of Texas, after both his junior and senior season. At Cypress Ridge, he rushed for 4,400 yards with 500 receiving yards and 52 total touchdowns. He described Friday what kind of back he considers himself.
“I’ve been playing this sport since I was six,” Smith said. “The game to me, it means everything. It means a lot to me. I’m willing to give it my all. Every play, every down. I’m a team player. I’m selfless. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get the ‘W’, get the win. If they need me to go to receiver, I’ll go to receiver. If they need me to play special teams, I’ll go play special teams. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the win, and I think that’s what they like about me the most.”
The team will need more than one running back this season. Obviously Boyd is the headliner at running back, but Smith feels he can also help out.
“But as far as me and Rakeem Boyd, man I’m ready,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to see what we can do. I’m planning on breaking some records. That’s our goal. Rakeem, that’s my big brother. I came in, and ever since I got here Rakeem put me under his wing, and we started hanging out every day. I started learning from him, he’s learning from me. It’ going to be a very great deal. I think you guys are going to like what you see come football season.”
Smith expressed his feelings on what drives him as a football player.
“Man, my ‘why’ is simple as my family,” Smith said. “I come from a harsh background, not having much growing up as a young kid. Every time I step out onto the field, I see it as an opportunity. Not only as an opportunity to go out and play the sport I love but also the opportunity to better my people’s life, to better my family’s life, put my mom in a better situation, my pops in a better situation. And I just keep that in mind every time I step on the field. It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than me. I have people depending on me. I feel like that’s truly my motivation. I do it for them.”
After transferring to Arkansas and sitting out the 2019 season the Hogs made a coaching change. What went through your mind when that happened?
“When the coaching change happened, I wasn’t really worried about if I made the right decision on if I came to the right place, because at the end of the day I know what I can do on the field,” Smith said. “I know what I can produce. I know what I can give to this team. So coming in with the new coaching staff, my mindset was just keep doing what I was doing and that’s just playing football. I love the sport and that’s one thing I do. I play ball. So I wasn’t really worried about the new coaching staff coming in, because I felt like they were going to notice what I was doing on the field.”
He talked about how quickly he became comfortable with the new staff once he started to get to know them.
“Very quickly,” Smith said. “Coach Sam Pittman, that’s my guy. I love him to death. My running backs coach Jimmy Smith, I love him to death. We talk every day. They talk to me every day. They call me, make sure I’m straight. You know, they just brought us in like a family. They love us to death, and they’re behind us one hundred percent. That’s what I like about this coaching staff. They want to see everybody succeed and that’s a good thing.”
While Smith and the Hogs are preparing for the Sept. 26 opener, his former teammates at Arizona State aren’t going to play this fall due to a COVID-19 decision by the Pac-12.
“I actually talked to a good friend of mine, Frank Darby, plays receiver at Arizona State University,” Smith said. “And with their season not going on, he’s just trying to stay active. Just trying to stay active. Wished they’d play, but that’s just what it came to. He’s just trying to stay active, keep working and try to get ready for the draft.”
The Hogs are coming off back-to-back 2-10 seasons and play an all-SEC schedule this fall. Smith isn’t worried.
“I’m all in,” Smith said. “I’m ready. I’m ready for every opponent. Game 1, we’ve got Georgia, and I’m expecting us to go in there and give it our all, every game, game in and game out. It’s an all-SEC schedule this year, and so we’ve got to bring it every game, and we know that. We’re getting prepared, and I feel like we’ll be ready.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields on Monday.